Ten years after the Great East Japan Earthquake

Ten years after the Great East Japan Earthquake
Masashi Itarashi, who has taught at the University of Tsukuba for many years, said frankly that from his contact with students, young people think that the Great East Japan Earthquake is a thing of the past. Especially in 2020, when the COV2 epidemic will spread, people’s concern for the affected areas in Tohoku will also drop rapidly. “People are paying less and less attention to Fukushima and will probably continue to do so.” Mr Uchibori said there were many questions to be answered, but he hoped to show both at home and abroad that “Fukushima is both light and shadow”.
10 years after the March 11 earthquake in Japan: The contrast between the present and the past is striking. Woundsstill heal

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake broke out in the Pacific Ocean in the northeast of Japan and triggered a tsunami. The huge waves mixed with debris and debris instantly engulfed many areas along the eastern coast of Japan. The ensuing Fukushima nuclear leakage accident was a lingering haze over Fukushima Prefecture and even the whole of Japan for a decade.

In Fukushima prefecture in early March, with sub-zero temperatures and lingering snow on the mountains, landslides caused by a powerful earthquake are a reminder that, a decade after the Great East Japan Earthquake, the scars are still there.

“Ten years, many people forget the pain, but the disaster is not over.” “I would love to see Fukushima recover, but I may not live to see it,” 71-year-old Fukushima resident Shunshi Nakamura told The Paper (www.thepaper.cn).

In order to make more asylum seekers feel at ease to return home, a group of elderly people over 70 years old in Nakamura gathered spontaneously, travelled around Fukushima for nine consecutive years to measure the amount of nuclear radiation, and regularly published the data on the Internet. They found that the effects of radiation have not abated in some areas, which means many people are still unable to return home.

Nakamura and his companions measure radiation in Fukushima, Japan, March 11, 2020. Photo provided by interviewees

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in northeastern Japan triggered a tsunami that caused an accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. At that time, Fukushima prefecture 11 cities, town, village issued asylum instructions, at most 160,000 people evacuated to the county refuge. Up to now, there are still seven cities, towns and villages in Fukushima prefecture that are “return difficult areas” (that is, areas where residents are forbidden to return to live) with excessive radiation levels, and more than 30,000 people are still taking refuge outside the prefecture.

During a visit to Fukushima on March 6, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the government would provide support to improve the environment so that Fukushima residents evacuated to other areas could return home. It was his second visit to Fukushima since taking office. “Coming here is a sign of determination that the government will be at the forefront of efforts to revive Fukushima,” he said.

On the day of Suga’s visit to Fukushima, Kurozawa, as a disaster support volunteer, was on the roofs of homes in the area, helping them repair damaged homes. “Fukushima was shaken again by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake last month,” he told thepaper.cn. “Although no one was killed and nearly 2,000 households had their houses damaged to varying degrees, it is unrealistic to expect the state to provide relief.”

Kurozas has been a disaster relief worker for more than 30 years, including helping with the 2011 earthquake in eastern Japan, and he is still angry that he didn’t save more lives. “When we came to a primary school, the whole school was devastated. Almost all the children were dead. We didn’t have time to rescue them.” He repeated the word “too late” many times, at one point choking.

For the Tohoku region, including Fukushima, disaster prevention and mitigation remains a daunting task. Over the past decade, the Japan Reconstruction Agency has spent about 32 trillion yen on post-earthquake recovery in East Japan. More than a third of the budget has been spent on housing, tidal levees and road construction, as well as disaster support, nuclear power plant accident management and funding for affected areas.

However, a poll conducted by public broadcaster NHK in the devastated North-East earlier this year found that only 12 per cent of respondents believed reconstruction in their areas had been completed, with 53 per cent believing that “actual recovery efforts have fallen short of expectations”.

Within the prefecture governor Mr Ya male said in an interview with surging news, the east Japan earthquake and the fukushima nuclear power plant accident in the past decade, mountain complex and difficult problems, including the revival of the region, regeneration, the victims of life reconstruction, nuclear power plant operation and nuclear waste furnace sewage treatment, a review “killed” (refers to suffer because of rumors) response, etc. “Fukushima revival faces a long battle.”